Fresh twist in Kilbowie Outdoor Centre shutdown storm

Why is North Lanarkshire Council bulldozing its popular Kilbowie outdoor centre in Oban then seeking out more expensive and seemingly inferior alternatives from private companies?

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 4:34 pm

That is the question that has re-ignited the row over the site that the council insists it cannot afford to keep.

Last week it emerged that the service to provide residential outdoor education within the authority had been put out to tender-- in a move that has sparked fury on the social media site that aimed to save the schoolchildren’s favourite.

One well-placed source who did not want to be named said: “Now they are tendering out exactly the same service Kilbowie offered and could still offer!

“No private company would ever provide an equivalent service for a similar cost as there would always be a profit maximisation incentive. So essentially everyone would be charged significantly more to receive a similar or likely lesser experience than they did when NLC operated it.

“Whilst commercial outdoor centres exist, they tend to focus on the model of cheap thrills delivered by entry level staff with high turnover and almost all activities done onsite, with little or no education value.

“This is in contrast to the high quality off-site ‘in the wild’ activities provided by Kilbowie by a highly qualified and experienced staff team.

“It begs the question - why flatten it, just to tender its replacement? It makes no sense. Also at no time was it mentioned in committee that it would be tendered externally.”

A NLC spokesperson said that outdoor education was continuing via a five-day course at Strathclyde Park with highly qualified staff,

He said:“The activities at Strathclyde Park include bushcraft skills such as den building and fire lighting, bikeability, watersports, orienteering, archery and team building.

“The procurement exercise will provide schools with the additional option of using residential activity providers if that is something they would like to explore.”